He is still Donald Trump ‘s Republican Party – at least for now.
The vote by 43 of the 50 Republican senators to get Trump accused of inciting a deadly riot last month at the U.S. Capitol, with just seven votes to condemn him, shows just how powerful in his grip on the party he has put back in his image the past five years.
The former president, who has largely remained out of sight at his home in Florida since leaving the White House on Jan. 20, commanding strong allegiance among his supporters, forcing most Republican politicians to pledge their allegiance and intimidate his anger.
But after two impeachments, months of false claims that Democrat Joe Biden lost his election, and an attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters that left five dead, Trump is also a political poison in many the swing areas that often determine the American Elections.
That leaves Republicans in a precarious position as they seek a coalition that won the 2022 elections to take control of Congress and the 2024 White House race that could include Trump as a candidate.
“It’s hard to imagine a Republican winning national elections without Trump supporters anytime soon,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and supporter of General Marco Rubio. during his 2016 main race against Trump.
“The party is looking at the real Catch 22: it can’t win with Trump but it’s clear it can’t win without it,” he said.
Trump did not sign his long-term political plans after the lawsuit, although he has been publicly advocating at another run for the White House and wants to help key opponents for a Republican in Congress to vote for impeachment or condemnation.
“It depends on whether it’s running again, but it will still have a big impact on both the direction of the policy and also in evaluating who is the usual carrier for that message,” one councilor said. “You can be king or whatever you want to call it.”
Trump has maintained strong Republican support in opinion polls even since Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Just days after the riot, a Reuters / Ipsos poll found that 70% of Republicans still agreed on Trump’s job performance, and a later poll found that an equal percentage thought that permission should be to have to run for office again.
But outside his party he is impartial. A new Ipsos poll published Saturday showed that 71% of Americans thought Trump was at least partially responsible for starting the attack on the Capitol. Fifty per cent thought he should be condemned in the Senate with 38% against and 12% unsure.
Trump’s defense in the Senate argued that the lawsuit was illegal because Trump had already resigned and his views ahead of the riot were defended. with the constitutional right to free speech. But a majority of senators, including seven Republicans, rejected that view.
Democrats said many Republican senators were afraid to vote with their conscience to condemn Trump for fear of retreating from his supporters.
“If this vote were held in secret, there would be a conviction,” Democrat Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was among Republicans who voted for Trump on Saturday, though he criticized the former president as a “practical and moral responsibility” for inciting violence .
His role showed how some Republican leaders are trying to distance themselves between Trump and limit his influence without inciting the full anger of Trump and his supporters.
Trump’s continued move was evident, however, when House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy last month visited the former president’s Palm Beach club Mar-a-Lago. Florida, where he was involved in a strategy for the 2022 conference elections.
That visit came just three weeks after McCarthy angered Trump by saying he was responsible for the Capitol unrest. McCarthy retreated, saying he did not think Trump instigated the attack.
The few lawmakers who broke with Trump have suffered greatly.
Producer Liz Cheney, Ref. 3 Republicans in the House of Representatives and one in 10 voted for Trump’s impeachment, swiftly in a conservative attempt to oust her from her leadership role. She survived, but Trump has vowed to throw his support behind her main opponent.
In Arizona, which backed Biden and elected a Democratic senator in November, the state party condemned three Republicans who had fought with Trump during his tenure – Governor Doug Ducey, former General Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, widow of the late General John. McCain.
When the state party threatened General Ben Sasse of Nebraska for criticizing Trump, he suggested it was a cult of personality.
“Let’s be clear about why this is happening. It’s because I still believe, as you used to, that politics isn’t about one dude’s weird worship,” Sasse said in a video was addressed to the party leadership in Nebraska. He was one of seven Republican senators to vote to condemn Trump on Saturday.
The times have led to an open debate in conservative circles about how far right to follow. At Fox News, the cable news network that played a key role in Trump’s rise to power, Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch last week told investors that the service would stick to the -position “middle of it”.
Trump joined the network after his early election preview, and eventually lost in Arizona, giving video networks further to the right Trump supporters who were unhappy to draw.
“We don’t have to go any further right,” Murdoch said. “We don’t believe America is right now, and it’s clear we’re not going to pivot left.”
Dozens of former Republican officials, outraged by the party’s failure to stand up to Trump, have held talks to form a new center-right party, although several congregational Republicans have rejected the idea.
Councilors say Trump himself has talked about creating a breakaway Patriot Party, splitting Republican divisions.
While Trump is in control of the party for now, several Republican senators said during an impeachment trial that the stain left by the deadly Capitol siege and months of false claims about widespread election fraud would eliminate his chances of gaining power again in 2024.
“After the American public sees the whole story here … I don’t see how Donald Trump could be re-elected to the presidency,” said Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who also voted for conviction, to reporters during the trial.
With Trump out of office and blocked from Twitter, his preferred means of communication, some Republicans said his grip on the party could disappear as new issues and personalities emerge.
Republican Senator John Cornyn, a friend of Trump, said the former president’s legacy had suffered lasting damage.
“Unfortunately, while President Trump has done a great deal, handling the post – election period is something that is going to be remembered,” Cornyn said. To think that is sad. “